Library of Congress

Original New York City Housing Authority posters pitch the projects as the 'solution to infant mortality'

When Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia established the New York City Housing Authority in 1934, it was one of the first municipal housing authorites in the United States. The new agency was soon tasked with spending New Deal funds to clear out slums and build government-operated apartments.

With public housing still a new concept in America, it was important to promote it to those who could qualify. NYCHA commissioned artists to design posters that promoted slum clearance and the value of newly constructed housing. The posters consistently use an aesthetic that reflected the architecture of the projects, with modernist typefaces and geometrically based illustrations. Like much of 1930s modernism, there's a sense of confidence in the design, showing the failures of the past and present while presenting the viewer a better, purer future ahead.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, here's a look at some of NYCHA's posters from the era (we highly recommend clicking the "full screen" option below for the best experience):

 

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Homes in Amsterdam are pictured.
    Equity

    Amsterdam's Plan: If You Buy a Newly Built House, You Can't Rent It Out

    In an effort to make housing more affordable, the Dutch capital is crafting a law that says anyone who buys a newly built home must live in it themselves.

  2. Equity

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  3. In this image from "No Small Plans," a character makes his way to the intersection of State and Madison Streets in 1928 Chicago.
    Stuff

    Drawing Up an Urban Planning Manual for Chicago Teens

    The graphic novel No Small Plans aims to empower the city’s youth through stories about their neighborhoods.

  4. Transportation

    China's 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter's Worst Nightmare

    What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.

  5. Design

    Cities Deserve Better Than These Thomas Heatherwick Gimmicks

    The “Vessel” at New York’s Hudson Yards—like so many of his designs—look as if the dystopian world of 1984 has been given a precious makeover.